Jason Yates self titled 2009 sophomores solo CD, from Vapor Records, included nine tracks, and was recorded at Manny Nieto’s Estudio in East L.A., and produced by Yates, Nieto and Shane Smith. This well done CD bridges modern rock, blues, and a jazz filled soul sensation quite effortlessly.
The upbeat lead track, My Way Out, is one of secure self assurance amid adversity. Yates Hammond B3 sighs and slowly sings the downbeat on Nobody So Far which shows us the facade of modern facelessness as, “. . . Nobody is what they say they are. . . .” He drops in a blues based lead guitar riff pulling the listeners in slowly, then, seize our yearning attention, “. . . Like a mirror in the dark . . . ” as he plays the opening bars of Coming’ On Back.
The whirl of Yates B3 bounces off the upbeat lead guitar of Black Crow’s guitarist Marc Ford behind the beat on, Paper Tents. Yates allow us another upbeat hopeful sound on, To Chance with talk of loves secret dance as it steadily skips along.
He spans acoustic blues in, Tear Drops, with a longing knowing feel of one who has walked with the heart-wrenching painful path. A significant pull of a lonesome undercurrent is evident on the sparse and sad song Sing for You.
Yates’ true essence is showcased here with ease by conversationally smooth lyrics in a counterpoint pattern to fine written rolling melodies from his Hammond B3.
He explains a need for a nourished sound space with a certain naturally strong groove from his musical workbench. Yates cite, “I spent a long time thinking about this and trying to find a way to do what I wanted, and I finally did.”
As a keyboard sideman, he played sessions with Taj Mahal, Mazzy Star, G. Love, Michael Franti, Toots & the Maytals, and on tours with Macy Gray, and Natalie Merchant. As a five-year band member of Ben Harper’s Innocent Criminals, he graced a stint which included a Grammy-winning collaboration with the Blind Boys of Alabama, on the 2004 disc, There Will Be a Light, which featured longtime Black Crow’s guitarist Marc Ford. Hence, he’s been a busy man since his solo debut, Angeleno.